Steel for knife making

I have been making knives for several years. I have used everything
from files to old cross cut saw blades to hacksaw blades. Every now
and then I get lucky while at the local junkyard and find a piece that
makes exceptional blades. Last summer, I found an old cross cut saw
blade that must have been from the first half of the last centruy. It
made strong blades with just a little flexibility that would sharpen up
to a razor edge. They held their edge pretty well (not quite as long
as a buck, but were sharpened differently). Most knives were set with
antler handles. The few blades I made from files were strong but
brittle (chipped) and consumed a lot of grinding wheel. I make mostly
pelting/skinning knives and hunting knives. I am interested in hearing
of any other experiences with blade making and what materials worked
best. Also what you use for handles and how you mount them.
Rider
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Rider
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Not making knives, but always kinda fascinated. I saw a report from someone mixing (by forging) old chainsaw chains and old blades. Made an very interesting pattern when etched.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
Have to correct myself: It was just chainsaw chains. The mix of the material made the pattern.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
This is ON topic here, so don't let me discourage you from discussing this here, but you might also ask at rec.knives.
But to your question: I really like A2 for knives, made all my early work from it. It should be pretty easily available from any supplier that sells any kind of tool steel at all. If you have a local Crucible or Uddeholm dealer they would be good places to start, but I recently bought some stock from a local machine shop that does a side line in metal sales. Heat treat in stainless foil, soak at 1800 F, temper twice at around 430. Or take it to a heat treating shop, they all do A2. It isn't very stain resistant, but it is tough, a good edge holder, and takes a beautifully keen edge.
Adam Smith Midland, Ontario, Canada
Reply to
Adam Smith
Anyone know what they commonly make lawnmower blades from?
Old ones may be useful to the original poster, but I suspect they may be too soft for knife making. However I recently bent one back true and was surprised by how much force it took.
I would like to try making a custom blade around 18 to 20 inches long, 1/4 inch thick and without any airfoils. Not having the airfoils to suck up grass under a deck is the major reason. Want it for light duty weed and brush cutting. Any suggestions on what would work well and possible not need heat treating?
Reply to
Leon Fisk
They are made to be not brittle, since they commonly hit rocks and concrete and they must not fall apart when that happens.
5160 and 5150 alloys.
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Reply to
Ignoramus20617
Leon Fisk wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
If using straight stock removal try "shredder" [PTO-powered rotary "lawn- mower"] blades.
These are 1/4" thick by ~2' long by ~4" wide and, once sharpened, will hold an edge almost indefinitely in spite of abuse.
Do NOT anneal or you'll lose the original temper.
Be prepared to go through a LOT of grinding wheels, though, as these things are TOUGH.
I've had my best luck using diamonds and working slowly to keep the metal cool.
Reply to
RAM³
You are working files without annealing them?????????
Blink blink...wow..thats tough work.
heat em red hot..then stick em in a bag of vermiculite to cool slowly. THEN work em. Makes a huge difference. When finished..temper as needed.
Same thing applies when making an anvil out of a chunck of rail road track..bon fire..let cool slowly over night
Gunner
"If I'm going to reach out to the the Democrats then I need a third hand.There's no way I'm letting go of my wallet or my gun while they're around."
"Democrat. In the dictionary it's right after demobilize and right before demode` (out of fashion). -Buddy Jordan 2001
Reply to
Gunner
Old buggy leaf springs make a nice hunting knife, the axles are really good for a forged blade, nice thick stuff. I find old iron in the mountains around old ranches and mines. The old timers just pushed it over the edge along streams. Picked up a couple of lengths of drill stem this summer (hard rock drills) 4' x 1.25" hex. Want to bet that would forge into something interesting? I like iron wood from the desert in AZ for handles.
ED
Reply to
ED
I haven't progressed to the heating and shaping stage. I just find a piece of steel, cut it out to rough shape with a saw then grind it to shape on my wheel. Nothing fancy, I started making them because I was too cheap to pay $40-$60 for a decent skinning/pelting knife every time I need one. Thanks for the advice, though. Where do I find vermiculite? I may try heating some files to do that while boiling traps next week. Rider
Reply to
Rider
That iron wood sounds interesting, I bet it's pretty. I've tried a few hardwoods from around here (Vermont) but haven't been thrilled with them. They look nice, but the wood soaks up grease and gets slippery. I've had good luck with some of my old deer antlers that were big enough to use as the complete handle (1 1/2 - 2 1/2 inch diameter) as the bases are usually pretty rough and give a good grip. I position the brow tine as a finger guard if possible. They also make good handles for pelt fleshers. Those leaf springs sound like they would work well. I don't know if I can find any around here. Our wet weather tends to rust everything away rather quickly. Thanks for the input. Rider
Reply to
Rider
Crazy glue and linseed oil makes a pretty good and quick finish for wood. I have seen it demonstrated, but have not actually used it. So you need to search for instructions.
Dan
Rider wrote:
Reply to
dcaster
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This guy is an old friend of mine. I scrounged up a bunch of good stuff for him this summer and put in an order for one of his shanghai blades. He gave me a drop point blade out of o1 and ebony that I hope to break in soon..on elk..I like his work.
ED
Reply to
ED
I've never done it but I'm told power hacksaw blades work well. If you're looking to use scrap material. Since power hacksaws are not really used any more you might find old blades on ebay.
Thank You, Randy
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Reply to
Randy
I want to thank both of you for the suggestions/ideas.
Back to the knife making, I found this page where somebody made a BIG knife from a mower blade (fifth one pictured):
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knife only:
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If you look close you can see the old mounting holes for mower use.
Reply to
Leon Fisk
If you can find a length of sawmill bandsaw blade all you'd need to do is to cut out the shape, drill what holes you'd need for the handle, and sharpen it.
While this would provide a thin blade, it'll cut well and be sufficiently flexible to not bend (permanently, that is) if caught in a bind. It'll also let you do a flush cut at ground level.
This type of bandsaw blade also makes good fillet knives.
Reply to
RAM³
Did I miss it or didn't anyone suggest OCS steel? Gerry :-)} London, Canada
Reply to
Gerald Miller
A bit thin..but EXCELLENT for small blades or fillet knives
They do need to be annealed then worked though.
Gunner
"I think this is because of your belief in biological Marxism. As a genetic communist you feel that noticing behavioural patterns relating to race would cause a conflict with your belief in biological Marxism." Big Pete, famous Usenet Racist
Reply to
Gunner
A local guy makes hunting knives from used hacksaw blades, course toothed ,125" x 1.5" ish ones. He leaves the teeth on the back for splitting the brisket.. Total stock removal project, no heat treat ect.
Slab riveted handle. Sheaths are riveted rawhide (deer) with a strip of copper along the edges. Pretty nice all around field knife. He gives/trades em away..
ED
Reply to
ED
You do know that he is talking about heating the steel to full cherry red. Your comment about boiling traps made me think you aren't in the right heat range, about a 1,000 degrees short
We just got a call from our local labor department. They are the ones who oversee asbestos work. Almost all of US Vermiculite comes from a mine in Montana? and has known quantities of asbestos. Vermiculite has just joined the list of controlled substances here. It is listed in zonolite roofing, core filled cement block, etc, etc.
Ain't life grand? I don't know how I managed to get so old with all the bad stuff out there. I had my feet measured at the shoe store with radiation, I've worked with transite sheathing, I've eaten bacon, I've scraped old paint off all kinds of things, I've washed out tools and brushes with toluene, MEK, and trichlor. The list goes on.
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DanG

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